New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Now Law: Pennacchio/Bucco ‘Pass the Trash’ Legislation to Protect Students from Abuse

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Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio and Senator Anthony Bucco to end the practice of “passing the trash” by preventing predatory teachers from continuing to victimize innocent kids at a different school.

Senator Pennacchio and Bucco’s “Pass the Trash” law was signed by the Governor.(

“As I’ve said all along, the safety of our students is paramount,” Pennacchio (R-26) said. “By enacting the ‘Pass the Trash’ law, this state is honoring its responsibility to protect innocent children from chronically-abusive teachers. I am proud that we were able to do this on a bipartisan basis with the support of the Governor. This legislation will go a long way to safeguarding students from abuse.”

Earlier today, Senator Pennacchio called on the Governor to sign the ‘pass the trash’ legislation. Hours later, Governor Murphy announced that he would sign the bill into law.

The extended problem of chronically-abusive teachers moving school-to-school unchecked, was exposed in a recent investigation by NJ Advance Media. This week, also shed light on a report by the NJ DOE showing that in 2017, more than 30 teachers lost their teaching licenses due to sexual abuse or sex-related allegations.

“It is in the best interest of our students to check past employment history of all potential school district hires.” Bucco (R-25) said. “I am glad to see that school systems will now be required to review all work history in order to protect our students from teachers with a history of sexual abuse.”

Senator Pennacchio and Bucco’s bipartisan “pass the trash” legislation, S-414, requires school districts, charter schools, nonpublic schools, and contracted service providers to review the employment history of prospective employees who will have regular contact with students to ascertain allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct.

“Now, we finally have a legal deterrent that is strong enough to stop the reckless behavior of underhandedly passing child abusers from school-to-school, ” Pennacchio added. “I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate and Assemblyman Webber for their leadership. I am grateful to the Governor for signing this lifesaving bill into law.”

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